The Association of Mine Managers of Zimbabwe (AMMZ) yesterday conducted its last Technical visit for the 4th quarter of 2023 at the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) in Hwange.
The team of Mine Managers of Zimbabwe, accompanied by various stakeholders visited the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)’s joint venture project with Sinohydro which aims to upgrade and expand the country’s power generation capabilities.
The massive project makes one of Zimbabwe’s biggest Mines, ZIMPLATS appear minified.
With Sinohydro owning 36% and ZPC owning 64% of the venture, the Giant project increased the installed capacity to the grid from the two new units, named Unit 7 and Unit 8.
Giving an overview of how power is generated at the plant the Acting Facility Site Manager Lucia Chibanda said her team is responsible for units 7 and 8 which have an installed capacity of 670 megawatts.
“The scope of the project is that we’ve got two units, that’s unit 7 and unit 8. The existing power station, or the old power station, has got an installed capacity of 920, that’s units 1 to 6. The one that I’m talking about specifically is the new units 7 and 8, which were then officially commissioned on the 3rd of August, 2023. These are two units which are similar in nature. Each generates 335 megawatts,” Chibanda said.
Chibanda said a SADC standard 400kV line was used to transmit power to substations in Bulawayo and Kwekwe.
“We had a line for over 340 kilometres from here, which is Hwange, up to Nsukamini in Bulawayo. Then we had a shorter line, which joined Nsukamini and Marvel. These are substations within Bulawayo. This new line is a 400 kV line. That is what is used in our SADC region. So it enables us to get power from either of our neighbouring countries. The old power lines were 330 kV. So there was new technology for matching the SADC region, the 400 kV line. But we then put two new substations, so that we have redundancy. The 330 line can turn in, going to the 400 kV substation, and then use the 400 kV to be transmitted. So we have a new substation in Kwekwe, which is Sherwood B. It’s basically there to interface the 330 kV lines and the 400 kV lines. Here in Hwange, it’s the same,” Chibanda continued.
A re-allocation program had to be implemented and houses built for relocated families to pave the way for the 400kV line according to Chibanda.
“But for this line to be there, there were people who were already staying in the vicinity. So we had to do what we call RAP. That’s a reallocation program, where we relocate the people to go and live elsewhere. We had to build them houses. These were people along the lines. Those were part of the project. Then we have other feeder projects into the main project, which include the houses that we built for workers. That’s in Mpumalanga and Baobab,” Chibanda continued.
The AMMZ President Engineer Elton Gwatidzo said the technical visit was to ensure the AMMZ would have an appreciation of issues to do with energy supply as energy supply.
“Today we started off with a technical visit to one of our stakeholders, the Hwange power company (Hwange Thermal Power Station) so that the association would have an appreciation of issues to do with energy supply as energy supply is our main driver to our production. We also understand their challenges as well,” Gwatidzo said.
Running under the Theme ‘Zimbabwean Mining Landscape – Transition Towards the Present-Day 4th IR’ the AMMZ’s AGM and Conference today entered its second day. The conference will be a full-day event running concurrently with the AGM (AMMZ annual general meeting). The day will end with the President’s 51st anniversary dinner which is to start at 7 pm,” Gwatidzo concluded.